Scrivener

I never thought that I would need writing soft wear. My thought was that a writer could do everything they needed to do with pencil and paper (or a word processor) but experience has shown me that there is a lot more to writing than just putting words on a page. There’s a lot to remember, and all that info needs to be accessible or it is lost.  In fact sometimes I’ve often felt as if I’ve been drowning in all the things I needed to remember.

The other thing I have been struggling with is editing. Continuity in a novel is important and there’s a lot to keep track of. Thing is moving scenes around in Word is a laborious process. Looking at the Scrivener website I was intrigued to see that this software claimed to assist with all of the problems I was having, plus it suggested that it made it easier to write books out of order and compile them later.  There are lots of blogs about Scrivener. They made it sound wonderful, but I’ve been disappointed by organizing tools before and I wanted to try it out before spending money, so I downloaded the thirty day free trial.

It was amazing.  I have never had an easier download.  No extra questions, no hassle, just open and use. I was immediately impressed by how intuitively it worked.  Every feature had three ways that you could access it; menu, short cut keys, or visual buttons on the current screen. This helped me because I’ve been working with computers for a long time and I could basically use my old knowledge without having to grasp anything new. Which considering all the features it contains helped a lot. I’ll admit after bulling my way through the entire tutorial my brain kind of hurt from information overload, but in a good way because I was completely exited about using all the functions on several of my projects.

I am currently writing a story with my mom. What I have been doing is tucking my back story and other world building research at the end of our Word document and scrolling back and forth between them whenever I need stuff. Not only is this a pain for me. It means that my mom can’t find anything because she has no idea where I put it. The research section on Scrivener is located at the bottom of the binder pain. Which means that everything in research is completely accessible and visible even when you are in the middle of writing. This feature has made a big difference on our project because now we can make a new research file with everything that is related to our world building, label it appropriately, and know that we can both find it again. I think the cork board is also going to invaluable. It allows you to look at ‘cards’ of each of your scenes at the same time and move them around. We’ve used it once to gauge how our first chapter was progressing and ended up knowing a lot more about how to construct our next chapter.

The thing my mom loves is the auto save feature. The program saves every few seconds, so nothing is ever lost. Even the trash file is kept until you decide to empty it. There is no alert you don’t have to remember to save anything and every time you bring the program up it comes up exactly as you left it.  So she can fearlessly close it.

I have yet to try the screen shot save function. It makes a save of whatever is currently on your screen and saves it in a separate file so you can access it at a latter date, thus allowing you to play with the one you currently have up on your screen without worrying about losing the old version.  I’m sure it will make comparing different versions of articles I write much easier.

I have however opened the recipe template and been very impressed. One of the problems with having recipes on my computer is how inaccessible they are. I already mentioned the binder function which allows the recipe template to make all of your recipes to be easily accessible, because it basically works like an index. But there is also a tagging function and a search function which means you can find any recipe you have that contains a certain ingredient or tag specific recipes so that you can create special collections, such as for a family cookbook or that are kid friendly. I have yet to convert all of my recipes into Scrivener, but I’m so looking forward to when they are all in there.

So far the program has been everything I wanted and more.  Its made the parts of writing that I find so darn difficult, simple. I don’t have to fight my brain or my tools, I can just write. By day ten I knew I wanted it forever, so I bought it. I’m sure that the true test is if it keeps working. That I will check out over time. But for now I am gloating over my lovely new purchase.

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